If you’re reading this, chances are you share a common problem with many clients who come to see us – you’re living in a beautiful neighbourhood, perhaps your children are settled into good schools and you’re close to your favourite cafes and outdoor recreation areas, but your house just isn’t working for you.
You may find it hard to visualise how your existing home could be made to suit your needs, and feel your only choice is to sell up, leave the neighbourhood you love and try your luck elsewhere.
The good news is that we can almost certainly find a way to tailor your home to suit your needs – in fact a large proportion of the work we do is just that, and the design process shares much in common with the design of a new home – listening to you describe your perfect lifestyle, and coming up with a solution that will give you and your family the freedom to live and grow in an environment designed just for you.
To start you thinking about the possibilities, here are some common ideas we often consider when undertaking renovations to a house. Depending on your needs and budget we can work with you to focus on those ideas that will make the most difference to you.
Comfort and energy efficiency
Older houses may have no insulation at all, or what little is present can have deteriorated over time reducing its effectiveness. Installing proper insulation is always one of the first areas we look at – you’ll notice the impact immediately once it is easier and cheaper to maintain a comfortable, warm and dry home. Thermally-broken aluminium window joinery using double glazing with low-e glass is a cost-effective option for new windows. Timber and PVC windows also perform extremely well, and for older homes may be a better match for existing parts of the house. It is also possible to retrofit double glazing to existing timber or aluminium windows if you don’t wish to change the appearance of your home.
Unless your home was built in the last few years, chances are you’re missing out on many of the technological features that are commonplace in contemporary homes. The good news is that it can be very simple to incorporate new features while other alteration work is being carried out. Switching to LED lights will lead to significant energy savings, and there is a vast array of automated and wireless technology that will allow you to control lighting, heating, audio and security using apps on your smart phone.
Successful outdoor entertaining areas rely on a few key factors – they need the right combination of sun, shade and shelter, as well as being readily accessible from living areas. If you’re not currently getting much use out of your outdoor living space then chances are one or more of these areas is coming up short. Investing in a well-designed space for outdoor living can make a remarkable difference to your life – imagine the satisfaction of spending a summer out on a beautiful hardwood deck with your new outdoor kitchen, and even a retractable roof to create a heated outdoor room you can enjoy year round.
Living room addition
This is one of the most common requests we get, and can make a real difference to your lifestyle. Creating a new living area offers you all sorts of ways to improve your home – you can position it to capture all-day sun, incorporate a modern open-plan kitchen, provide a separate space for children or adults, or even create a dedicated home-theatre experience. The possibilities are endless.
Where’s the front door?
We’ve all been to houses where it’s hard to know where to get in – perhaps the entrance just isn’t in the right place, or it doesn’t stand out enough. We can come up with a solution that works – an eye-catching, sheltered and welcoming entry that directs visitors to the right spot so you can maintain privacy in your living and outdoor entertaining areas without people wandering in off the street.
Sometimes a home just needs a bit of a refresh to change some of the tell-tale signs that make it look its age. 1970s houses often have plenty of space, but the style of windows and timber trims can be a bit dated and the layouts may not suit modern ways of living. 1980s houses may be starting to look a bit run down, with early aluminium window joinery, bathrooms and kitchens all getting to the age where replacement is required (who can forget the avocado-coloured bathroom fittings!). 1990s houses can benefit from enhancements to remove any perceptions of weathertightness issues – this could involve work such as replacing some or all of the cladding, or simplifying complex roof junctions and other areas often seen as high-risk.
One way of increasing your enjoyment of your home is by adding in some new features within existing spaces – things like window seats, built-in gas fires, decorative timber screens and feature stairways can be added with minimal disruption, and are a great way of giving otherwise plain spaces a bespoke touch.
Master bedroom suite
A common request is for an extra bedroom and bathroom. Why not use this as a chance to create your dream master bedroom suite complete with luxury ensuite and walk-in wardrobe, so it really feels like you’re waking up every day in a newly-built home?
There’s no need to leave a home you cherish just because you’re finding access increasingly difficult. Relatively simple features such as level entry doors and wet area showers can make a huge difference if mobility is a problem, or you could install a passenger lift so you’re not always running up and down the stairs – they’re not as expensive as you may think, and you’ll get to keep enjoying the views from upstairs living rooms.